Xavier Hawkins dressed up as Santa Claus to give toys away in Southeast Washington, instead he was shot in the back with a pellet gun. The incident was caught on camera by the local ABC News affiliate.
The video is disturbing. The man dressed as Santa has led the annual Barry Farm gift giveaway for the last seven years, and according to an ABC7 photographer who was interviewing the victim at the time of the shooting, the he was struck in his upper back then transported to a nearby hospital with the pellet still lodged in his shoulder.
Did America need another indication that we need to address gun violence? Well, we got one. Not even Santa is safe.
Hawkins says he is fine now and is just happy no one else got hurt.
“I felt the burning,” he described of the feeling he got when shot. It pains Hawkins to know that a man bearing gifts for a community would become the victim of violence. But he still sees the positive:
“Thank God I’m living and it’s not a real gun …I’m very grateful that no one else got hit — especially the kids.”
Perhaps it is time to give some serious thought to not just restricting access to guns but the culture of casual violence that surrounds them.
Most likely the person that shot Hawkins thought it would be amusing to “shoot Santa” – and that’s the problem. Because if the Sandy Hook legislative experience has taught us anything it’s that Congress is not going to be much help in curbing gun violence, we have to change the culture ourselves.